Writers

The Best Gay Authors  

Ron Garcia
Originally by
30.2k votes 4k voters 406.6k views 261 items

List Rules List includes known gay authors, living or dead—can be novelists, short story or film writers, poets, etc. Vote on the merits of their work

Who are the most famous gay writers in history? This list contains over 200 of the most notable gay writers ever, with photos where available. Some of the literary world's best talent has come from gay writers. The best gay authors may or may not choose to speak openly about their sexuality and tackle it as a theme in their writing or in their books. The LGBTQ+ community has contributed wonderful pieces of writingfrom poems and novels to fantastic journalismand many gay writers of the 20th century, like Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams, are studied in school and revered for their work.

Who are the most famous gay and lesbian authors? This list includes authors from ancient times to modern day, famous gay poets, novelists, screenplay writers and LGBTQ+ authors. Some on the list may not be considered "gay" by modern terms as cultures have changed throughout the centuries. Others were out and proud and used their unique experience to create some of the best gay literature of all time. That said, regardless of their era in antiquity, these gay authors have all expressed interest in same-sex relations.

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26
Jean Genet is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Balcony, The Blacks: A Clown Show, The Maids
Jean Genet was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond, but later took to writing. His major works include the novels Querelle ...more
27
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Howl, Pull My Daisy, Collected poems 1947-1980
Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed economic ...more
28
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Human Voice, Opium, journal d'une désintoxication
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles, and the films Blood ...more
29
Colette is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Last of Cheri, Gigi, Chéri
Colette was the surname of the French novelist and performer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novel Gigi, the basis for the film and Lerner and Loewe stage production of the ...more
30
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Myra Breckinridge, The City and the Pillar, Creation
Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political ...more
31
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice, The Tables of the Law
Paul Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels ...more
32
Michel Foucault is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Discipline and Punish, Madness and Civilization, The History of Sexuality
Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they ...more
33
Edna St. Vincent Millay is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Fatal interview, The murder of Lidice, Wine from these grapes
Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her ...more
34
Anaïs Nin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Delta of Venus, Henry and June, Fire: From a Journal of Love
Anaïs Nin was an author born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an ...more
35
Armistead Maupin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Michael Tolliver Lives, The Night Listener, Tales of The City Audio Collection
Armistead Jones Maupin, Jr. is an American writer, best known for his Tales of the City series of novels, set in San Francisco.
36
André Gide is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Counterfeiters, The Immoralist, Strait Is the Gate
André Paul Guillaume Gide was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human ...more
37
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, Omoo
Herman Melville was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. Most of his writings were published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his ...more
38
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Gay Authors
soxcat added The Bell Jar, The Colossus and Other Poems, Ariel
Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, before ...more
39
George Gordon Byron is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Don Juan, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Manfred
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, later George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron, FRS, commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. ...more
40
Paul Verlaine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sagesse, Paul Verlaine, Selected poems
Paul-Marie Verlaine was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle in international and French
41
David Sedaris is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, When You Are Engulfed in Flames
David Raymond Sedaris is an American humorist, comedian, author, and radio contributor. He was publicly recognized in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand ...more
42
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge, Cakes and Ale
William Somerset Maugham CH was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. ...more
43
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Fight Club, Haunted, Choke
Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is the author of the award-winning novel Fight ...more
44
Edward Albee is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Delicate Balance, The Ballad of the Sad Café, The Play About the Baby
Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright who is known for works such as The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. His works are considered well-crafted, often ...more
45
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Hay Fever, The Vortex, Pacific 1860
Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a ...more
46
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Cancer Journals, The Marvelous Arithmetic of Distance: Poems 1987-1992, A Burst of Light: Essays
Audre Lorde was a Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. Lorde served as an inspiration to women worldwide, one of her most notable efforts ...more
47
Evelyn Waugh is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust, Decline and Fall
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh, known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies, and travel books; he was also a prolific journalist and reviewer of books. His best-known works ...more
48
Michael Cunningham is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Home at the End of the World, The Hours, Specimen Days
Michael Cunningham is an American writer. He is best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. Cunningham is a senior ...more
49
Paul Bowles is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Sheltering Sky, Pages from Cold Point, A hundred camels in the courtyard
Paul Frederic Bowles was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator. He became associated with Tangier, Morocco, where he settled in 1947 and lived for 52 years to the end of his ...more
50
Clive Barker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Gay Authors
dennisluccio added The Damnation Game, The Thief of Always, The Hellbound Heart
Clive Barker is an English writer, film director, and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short ...more